California's Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments over the legality of the state offering in-state tuition rates to immigrant students without the legal documentation to reside permanently in the United States. The Los Angeles Times reported that justices appeared skeptical of the suit challenging the in-state rates for such students, currently estimated to number at 25,000 at the state's public colleges and universities. Because these students are not eligible for most federal and state aid programs, many would be likely unable to pay out-of-state tuition rates.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, both of the University of Manchester, in Britain, were named Tuesday morning as winners of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. They were honored "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene."
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has sent the University of Virginia another demand for documents about the research of Michael Mann, a former professor who has studied climate change, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. In August, a state judge blocked an earlier request by the attorney general. The university and many faculty groups have accused Cuccinelli of intruding into scholarly disputes in a way that could hinder academic freedom, although he says he is engaged in legitimate oversight of activities at a state university. Mann issued a statement saying: "I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli seeks to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, pursuing what appears to be an endless smear campaign against the University of Virginia, me and other climate scientists."
Editors of The Eastern Echo, the student newspaper at Eastern Michigan University, are apologizing for and explaining a cartoon that ran last week. The cartoon, found here as cartoon #14, although the number will change as more cartoons are added, shows a couple wearing Klan-style hoods, standing near a tree with a noose hanging from a branch. The text: "Honey, this is the tree where we met." An editorial added Saturday states: "We apologize for the lack of sensitivity some felt we showed for publishing the piece. The cartoon points out the hypocrisy of hate-filled people. Its intent was to ask how can someone show affection for one person while at the same time hating someone else enough to commit such a heinous act as hanging." The Detroit News reported that the university responded to criticism of the cartoon by issuing a statement that said: "Students are responsible for planning, writing and editing the entire newspaper.... The university does not exercise any editorial control over the content of the newspaper. The university does not condone or support any actions that are racially offensive or insensitive."
Cecilia Chang, already facing charges of embezzling about $1 million from St. John's University, in New York, is now facing additional charges, of forcing scholarship students to work as personal servants, The New York Times reported. Chang was charged with forced labor and bribery, in response to allegations that she told the students, most of them foreign students, that working 20 hours a week under her supervision was required for their scholarships. The duties included menial tasks at her home and such tasks as driving the dean's son to the airport. A lawyer for Chang said that the students' work was a normal part of work-study programs.
Both Harvard and Brown Universities have announced gifts for humanities research that, while not enormous in terms of the largest gifts to higher education, are notable for their emphasis. Harvard is today announcing a $10 million gift to support its humanities center with interdisciplinary research. The gift is the largest in Harvard's history for the study of the humanities. On Saturday, Brown announced a $3 million gift that will support the recruitment of senior scholars and the development of multiyear research seminars in the humanities.
Susan M. Reverby, a medical historian at Wellesley College, has uncovered evidence -- confirmed by U.S. officials -- that American scientists infected hundreds of Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases in the 1940s, The Boston Globe reported. The scientists' records indicate that they believed they could test various treatments for the diseases, and they did treat those who were infected, although one died. But the experiments were similar to the infamous studies at Tuskegee in that the research subjects never granted permission to be used in this way (although the unknowing participants in the Tuskegee study, unlike those in Guatemala, had become infected with the disease by ordinary means). Based on the findings of Reverby, President Obama apologized to Guatemalan leaders. (See an interview in Inside Higher Ed last year with Reverby about a book about Tuskegee.)
The Faculty Senate at the University of Johannesburg last week voted to suspend joint research and education programs with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev unless the latter institution meets certain conditions, including adding Palestinian universities to the programs and ending all of its ties to the Israel military. The Senate vote, expected to be adopted by the university as policy, could well end ties between the South African and Israeli universities, especially since many of the ties that Ben-Gurion has to the military are routine in Israel (such as programs to help students who are in the military or who are called up for reserve duty). The move at Johannesburg to cut ties to Ben-Gurion has been endorsed by many South African academics who want to back the Palestinian cause. Ben-Gurion has yet to formally respond, a spokeswoman said. But supporters of Ben-Gurion have criticized the scrutiny the joint research project has received, saying that Israeli universities are being held to higher standards than those in any other country, and that the research that could be cut off helps black South Africans.
President Obama is on Monday expected to announce a new public-private partnership to promote better job training at community colleges, The New York Times reported. The idea behind the program, which would be overseen by the Aspen Institute, is that while some job training programs are effective, many are not, so some public-private effort might help spread information on the concepts in the successful programs, so they can be replicated.
Immigration issues took center stage Saturday in a debate of the gubernatorial candidates in California. The chief issue was the recent allegation that Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate, who has called for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, was responsible for having hired a housekeeper without legal documentation to work in the United States. But the issue of immigrant students also came up. A California State University at Fresno student, who is undocumented, asked the candidates about legislation -- supported by Democrat Jerry Brown and opposed by Whitman -- to create a path to citizenship for students like her. Brown then pointed out that Whitman not only opposes the legislation, but has called for undocumented students to be kicked out of the state's public universities, the Los Angeles Times reported. "She wants to kick you out of this school because you are not documented and that is wrong, morally and humanly," Brown said. Whitman defended her stance, saying "I don't think it's fair to bar and eliminate the ability of California citizens to attend higher university and favor undocumenteds."